C’est levy

By Christine Chang

A new levy could be coming your way.

Fine Arts students are proposing a levy to encourage exploration in the arts for University of Calgary students. The levy would charge $1 to full-time students and $0.75 to part-time students.

Similar to Campus Recreation levies to encourage sports, the proposed fee would be used to develop the Fine Arts.

Money raised through this levy would be used to help fund student art projects, from performing a concert in Fort McMurray to auditioning in Vancouver.

If the levy is passed, it would be collected through the Students’ Union and a resulting Fine Arts Board would be set up to decide who would get funding, and how funding would be distributed.

"Anyone interested could write up a proposal for the Fine Arts Board," said Robert Ouellette, SU external commissioner and a student in the music education program. "For costly projects, like trips, you would still have to pursue other methods of funding as well, but it’s better than having to flip burgers for 30 hours."

Ouellette cited budget cuts as the main reason for the proposed levy.

"This levy would fill a need for the development of students that we don’t have any more because of budget cuts," said Ouellette. "Right now it is very difficult for students to obtain funding for art projects. There’s very little money available. It’s easier for students in Management to get funding from corporations, but it’s tougher for Fine Arts students because places like the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra don’t have the funds in the first place. The Fine Arts Board would be addressing this imbalance."

Ouellette said the levy is meant not only to benefit Fine Arts students, but the general student population as well. Funding is available to any student, as long as the proposal is arts-related.

Like any proposal to levy a fee through the SU, Fine Arts students must first circulate a petition to accumulate student signatures in

support–five per cent of the student body–then garner the Students’ Legislative Council’s approval. It is only then that the proposal can be voted on by the students in a referendum, where its ultimate fate lies.

"For a proposal to levy a fee to be passed, it depends on what the students think–if they think it’s a good thing or a bad thing," said SU Vice-President Operations and Finance Amanda Affonso.

Fine Arts students have already started to tackle this task. They are currently circulating the petition and have about 200 signatures so far. If they get enough signatures and receive SLC approval, students may vote on the levy in the SU Spring Election.

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